Stuff gets stolen. It’s an unfortunate fact of life and although your mama may have taught you better than to touch other people’s things, there are some folks out there who don’t listen to their mamas. Thus, the burden is on you to make sure that you keep your toys safe from the grubby hands of thieves. How?
- Identify your stuff: Quads, UTV’s, dirtbikes and boats all typically come with some sort of identification number. Be it a VIN number, or an identifier that you permanently attach to the vessel, any unique identifier is helpful in the recovery of your beloved stuff. Always write down ID numbers and keep a description of the item including make, model, year and color.
- Lock ‘er up: Our neighbor always parks his truck sideways in front of his garage while he’s on vacation to prevent thieves from opening the garage and taking his quad. Although this is a seemingly bright idea, everybody knows when he’s gone and if someone wanted in bad enough I’m sure they’d take the truck, too. When toys are parked in a garage, always lock the garage and the item. Because most toys aren’t enclosed, the best locking system may consist of a chain to a stationary object or a pad lock on vital parts. And never, ever leave the keys in anything. Why make it easy?
- Make it difficult: Typically, people who steal stuff are inherently lazy. Thus, making theft hard will deter a good chunk of thieving scoundrels. When you’re out and about with toys in the back of your pickup, or loaded on a trailer, always park with the rear of the trailer butted up to a stationary object. Retaining walls, buildings or other vehicles in your party make great blockades to prevent the unloading of your trailer, or theft of the trailer itself.
- Insure everything: For the minimal investment of insurance for your “fun machine,” there’s no excuse not to. The replacement cost of a stolen boat, ATV or jet ski can suck all the fun right out of your bank account. And don’t assume that your homeowner’s insurance will cover your toys if they’re stolen from your home, as most policies do not.
- Hide your rides: You want to know how I know that the neighbor who parallel parks his truck has a quad, 3 dirtbikes and 2 jet skis in his garage? Because 60% of the time the stuff is riding around in the back of his truck or parked next to the garage. Leaving pricey, enticing toys out for everyone to see is also providing an opportunity for thieves to lock you in their sights. If the space is available, move your toys inside. (I mean the garage, not the living room.) If the good must stay outside, cover them with a tarp and park them out of the main line of sight.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to theft. You’ll save yourself plenty of worry, anger and cash by being cautious, because some people never grew out of stealing Tonka trucks from the sandbox.